1) Grammar as Analogous to a Scientific Theory
   I think that the failure to offer a precise account of the notion "grammar" is not just a superficial defect in linguistic theory that can be remedied by adding one more definition. It seems to me that until this notion is clarified, no part of linguistic theory can achieve anything like a satisfactory development. . . . I have been discussing a grammar of a particular language here as analogous to a particular scientific theory, dealing with its subject matter (the set of sentences of this language) much as embryology or physics deals with its subject matter. (Chomsky, 1964, p. 213)
   2) Native Speakers and Their Grammar
   Obviously, every speaker of a language has mastered and internalized a generative grammar that expresses his knowledge of his language. This is not to say that he is aware of the rules of grammar or even that he can become aware of them, or that his statements about his intuitive knowledge of his language are necessarily accurate. (Chomsky, 1965, p. 8)
   3) The Reduction of Transformation Rules In a Science of Grammar
   Much effort has been devoted to showing that the class of possible transformations can be substantially reduced without loss of descriptive power through the discovery of quite general conditions that all such rules and the representations they operate on and form must meet. . . . [The] transformational rules, at least for a substantial core grammar, can be reduced to the single rule, "Move alpha" (that is, "move any category anywhere"). (Mehler, Walker & Garrett, 1982, p. 21)
   4) The Relationship of Transformational Grammar to Semantics and to Human Performance
   [T]he implications of assuming a semantic memory for what we might call "generative psycholinguistics" are: that dichotomous judgments of semantic well-formedness versus anomaly are not essential or inherent to language performance; that the transformational component of a grammar is the part most relevant to performance models; that a generative grammar's role should be viewed as restricted to language production, whereas sentence understanding should be treated as a problem of extracting a cognitive representation of a text's message; that until some theoretical notion of cognitive representation is incorporated into linguistic conceptions, they are unlikely to provide either powerful language-processing programs or psychologically relevant theories.
   Although these implications conflict with the way others have viewed the relationship of transformational grammars to semantics and to human performance, they do not eliminate the importance of such grammars to psychologists, an importance stressed in, and indeed largely created by, the work of Chomsky. It is precisely because of a growing interdependence between such linguistic theory and psychological performance models that their relationship needs to be clarified. (Quillian, 1968, p. 260)
   5) The Terminologies of Formal Grammar
   [T]here are some terminological distinctions that are crucial to explain, or else confusions can easily arise. In the formal study of grammar, a language is defined as a set of sentences, possibly infinite, where each sentence is a string of symbols or words. One can think of each sentence as having several representations linked together: one for its sound pattern, one for its meaning, one for the string of words constituting it, possibly others for other data structures such as the "surface structure" and "deep structure" that are held to mediate the mapping between sound and meaning. Because no finite system can store an infinite number of sentences, and because humans in particular are clearly not pullstring dolls that emit sentences from a finite stored list, one must explain human language abilities by imputing to them a grammar, which in the technical sense is a finite rule system, or programme, or circuit design, capable of generating and recognizing the sentences of a particular language. This "mental grammar" or "psychogrammar" is the neural system that allows us to speak and understand the possible word sequences of our native tongue. A grammar for a specific language is obviously acquired by a human during childhood, but there must be neural circuitry that actually carries out the acquisition process in the child, and this circuitry may be called the language faculty or language acquisition device. An important part of the language faculty is universal grammar, an implementation of a set of principles or constraints that govern the possible form of any human grammar. (Pinker, 1996, p. 263)
   6) The Theory of Grammar
   A grammar of language L is essentially a theory of L. Any scientific theory is based on a finite number of observations, and it seeks to relate the observed phenomena and to predict new phenomena by constructing general laws in terms of hypothetical constructs. . . . Similarly a grammar of English is based on a finite corpus of utterances (observations), and it will contain certain grammatical rules (laws) stated in terms of the particular phonemes, phrases, etc., of English (hypothetical constructs). These rules express structural relations among the sentences of the corpus and the infinite number of sentences generated by the grammar beyond the corpus (predictions). (Chomsky, 1957, p. 49)

Historical dictionary of quotations in cognitive science. . 2015.


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